On the heels of Oklahoma City’s failure to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference comes this report from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, which claims that Thunder management is feeling a little antsy about Scott Brooks going forward.
Brooks’s contract is guaranteed for the 2015-2016 season and has a team option for 2016-2017, but Wojnarowski cites league sources claiming that the Thunder could consider letting Brooks go before next season—which also happens to be the last year of Kevin Durant’s contract. From Woj:
Thunder general manager Sam Presti has to decide an organizational direction for the final year of Durant’s contract, and that will include a decision about whether Brooks is ultimately the coach most capable of delivering a healthy Thunder roster to a championship. Brooks is well liked within the organization and has forged close relationships with management and players in his seven years as head coach.
Several league sources close to Brooks have doubts about his job security.
It’s hard not to feel bad for Brooks, who has led the Thunder on a very successful run while dealing with the loss of James Harden, significant injuries to both of his superstars, and a relatively shallow roster. But anyone who’s watched a decent chunk of Thunder games over the last few seasons has felt the urge to scream, “What the hell are you doing?!” at the TV while watching the Thunder run through yet another string of aimless offensive sets or unimaginative after-timeout plays.
The real cruelty of Brooks’s sudden placement on the hot seat is the timing. If he’d had a full-strength squad at his disposal this year and once again failed to win a title, nobody would raise an eyebrow if the Thunder decided to cut him loose. It feels like a dick move to start questioning a coach’s ability to lead a championship-caliber team right after a nightmare, injury-plagued season. But the Thunder are guaranteed just one more year with Kevin Durant, and the prospect of losing a superstar like that can persuade a front office to start making rash decisions. It may not be completely fair to Brooks, but those are the breaks.